HomeThe MarketSwap meet at the Goodguys Spring Nationals

Swap meet at the Goodguys Spring Nationals


I usually spend my Saturdays at the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s twice-a-year visits to the Phoenix area walking up and down and back and forth along aisle after aisle after aisle of, well, hot rod and custom cars.

But with Nicole James eager for a turn at doing the Eye Candy gallery on the main event, I left the show field to her and her camera and walked up the hill to the swap meet that lines both sides of the perimeter road along the south side of the WestWorld equestrian center in Scottsdale.

Though it’s called a swap meet, it’s not as if people are up there trading baseball cards like a bunch of school boys. What’s being exchanged are parts and pieces for cold hard cash money.

And it’s not just the people there to see the cars who are buying.

I asked several of the vendors how business was. Several said Friday had been terrific, but that most of the show-goers were still out looking at cars and had yet to make their way to the swap meet.

However, one vendor said that not only was Friday good, but so was Thursday.

Thursday? I asked. Isn’t that the day you’re setting up shop, the day when there are no customers here to buy.

True, he said. But then he explained that there is actually a lot of buying that takes place on Thursdays when the vendors check out each others’ merchandise.

So, I said, if they think you’re not charging enough for something, they buy it and put it on their own tables?

Yep, was the response.

Prices can range from a few dollars to a few thousand, with everything for sale from door-window crank handles and tail-lamp lenses to headers, engines and even entire cars; some are your basic restoration projects in waiting while others are running and ready to be driven home.

Some bring only enough to fill a single card table and the ground next to it. Some pull up in a pickup truck with its bed full of car parts and pieces. Others have more elaborate displays of everything from automotive literature to model cars, from road signs to old drive-in movie theater speakers now wi-fied to play music downloaded to a smart phone or tablet computer.

Photos by Larry Edsall

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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